On the Catholic Priesthood
The Catholic Bishop as Principal Teacher
The Bishop is the principal teacher in the faith community. As such, he must be devoted to preaching the Gospel constantly. That preaching aims at illuminating to the faithful what they must believe and put into practice, while steering them away from every error that is life-threatening to the spirit.
Pray for Better Priests
Our brethren of the laity often complain of the priest they get; I wonder, does it ever occur to them to pray for better? When the Ember seasons come round, how many people remember to pray for the priests who are being ordained? We pile the sanctuary with flowers, we make it a blaze of candles; but there is something else needed far more than lights of flowers for God's honor, that the hearts of his priest should be made a fit habitation for Himself. Of his priests? Not of His priests only, but our own hearts too.
Source: Pastoral Sermons and Occasional Sermons, The Eucharist, Fr. Ronald Knox
When the shepherd becomes a Wolf
the first duty of the flock is to defend itself. The true children of Holy Church, at such times, are those who walk by the light of their Baptism, not the cowardly souls who, under the specious pretext fo submission to the powers that be, delay their opposition to the enemy in the hope of receiving instructions which are neither necessary nor desirable.
Source: Dom Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year
Pray, pray for your priests!
"Pray, pray for your priests; every nation, every diocese gets the clergy it deserves.
We priests are only earthen vessels, you know for yourselves many of the shortcomings,
hasty temper and slovenly habits and so on, by which we often disgrace the livery we wear.
But, when you observe such things, you merely shrug your shoulders, and say,
"Pity Father So-and-so isn't more like poor Canon So-and-so". You should be on your knees,
this next week, praying for the clergy everywhere, from the Holy Father himself down to the
new priests [...]; praying for the seminaries too, the factories where the tools of Christ are made.
God protect His Church in the anxious, bewildered days that are coming; and give us supply of
good priests to work as the martyrs worked, to live as the martyrs lived, and if need be to die as
the martyrs died, to the glory of His Holy Name."
Source: Monsignor Ronald Knox, Priesthood, Pastoral Sermons and Occasional Sermons
Recipe for Holiness
"Priests, do not forget that priestly gravity and propriety must characterize your ministry, whereas everything which tends towards secular habits, shows up the priest as vain and flighty in the eyes of the world which is perfectly able to discern the more respectable priests even from their outward bearing."
"Only two means are left to save Her (the Church) amidst so much confusion: Frequent Communion and Devotion to Mary most holy, making use of every means and doing our best to practice them and having them practiced everywhere and by everybody."
"When speaking of public scandals:
Don’t be surprised at anything. People and waywardness go hand in hand. The Church has nothing to fear because even if all were to conspire to overthrow Her, the Holy Spirit would still uphold Her."
Haerent Animo, Apostolic Exhortation
"It is his duty to uproot unfruitful plants and to sow useful ones, to
water the crop and to guard lest the enemy sow cockle among it.
Consequently, the priest must be careful not to allow an unbalanced
concern for personal perfection to lead him to overlook any part of the
duties of his office which are conducive to the welfare of others. These
duties include the preaching of the word of God, the hearing of
confessions, assisting the sick, especially the dying, the instruction
of those who are ignorant of the faith, the consolation of the
sorrowing, leading back the erring, in a word, the imitation in every
respect of Christ who went about doing good and healing all that were
oppressed by the devil."
Source: Pope St. Pius X
A priest is one who makes Christ visible
"A priest is one who makes Christ visible. The people see Christ in the
saintly priests and they seek even to touch his robes as they did the
robes of Christ. Children come to him without fear; non-Catholics give
to them a reverence which they rarely give to others. The sure measure
by which a priest draws souls to Christ is also the means by which he
can drive souls from Christ."
Sources: Bishop Sheen, Those Mysterious Priests
A Well Trained Priest
"One well trained priest is worth more than many trained badly or
scarcely at all. For such would be not merely unreliable but a likely
source of sorrow to the Church. What a terrifying account, Venerable
Brethren, We shall have to give to the Prince of Shepherds, to the
Supreme Bishop of souls, if we have handed over these souls to
incompetent guides and incapable leaders."
Source: Pius XI (Ad Catholici Sacerdotti: Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on the Catholic Priesthood. 1935)
The Priest as one Chosen from among Men
"We recognize the priest as one chosen from among men to serve men in
the affairs of God. He is the minister of reconciliation with God, the
teacher of the truth, and one who offers the sacrifice, who administers
the sacraments, who prays for the people. We distinguish in him that
double character of man and priest; we recognize the divine character of
the priesthood which forces us to bend the knee to him for the
forgiveness of sins and to receive from his hands the holy sacrifice of
the Eucharist. His ordination has conferred upon the man the character
of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. In the parish he is the ambassador
of God, the administrator of the sacraments, the guardian of the sacred
deposit of faith, the defender of the people's rights, and the unselfish
friend of everyone. From the cradle to the grave, he touches intimately
the lives of his people and brings to them in all the circumstances of
life the blessing of the Divine Savior of whom he is the commissioned
minister. The people feel that in the true priest there is no taint of
selfishness, and that he is willing to sacrifice his life in order that
the spiritual interests of his people may not suffer "
Source: Bishop James Conaty, Our Young People, 1912
On the Church and the Age
"Let us strengthen our devotion to the Church. Let us love our holy
mother the Church; we owe everything to the Church. Let us not fear that
the words of Christʼs promise shall ever fail. The gates of hell have
never prevailed, and never shall prevail, against His Church. She has
never gone astray on a single doctrinal point: her enemies may be
challenged to prove that she has ever erred in any point of practical
justice or prudence.Her children may have done wrong; but the Bride of
Christ has preserved unstained during nineteen centuries that white robe
which He gave to her that she might be " a glorious Church, not having
spot or wrinkle or any such thing." She has never been unfaithful to His
truth or to His cause, and, by the virtue of His power, she will purify
again this earth, on which it is her lot to lead a life of ever-varying
trial and combat. Let us ask to be made worthy children of that Church
militant and struggling, in order that, having done our part of duty in
her warfare with the world, we may merit to be enrolled among the
glorious members of a Church which is triumphing in heaven."
Source: On the Church and the Age, Fr. Merrick (Catholic Oratory, A compilation of Sacred and Sublime Orations, 1891)